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Love of travel sparks tour groups for Ladysmith couple

Lorne and Verna Hastings have been travelling and organizing successful tours for over 20 years. Now that they are retired from their day jobs, they have turned their passion for people, adventure and interesting places into a second career as tour leaders. Both have experience organizing and leading tours for groups of 12 to more than 60 people.

Since 1992, the Hastings have led tours throughout the United Kingdom, Europe, Africa, Asia and South America. They have cruised the Nile River, the Greek Islands, the Mediterranean, the Adriatic Sea, Lake Como, Lake Titicaca (the highest navigable lake in the world), the canals of Amsterdam, the Aegean Sea, and rafted the headwaters of the Amazon River.

What do you define as an “adventure”?

I define adventure as anything out of the ordinary. It might be walking along our beaches and finding an ancient spear head. It might be climbing the peaks of Machu Picchu. It is whatever comes along that is out of one’s comfort zone — maybe a little or maybe a lot!

What is the greatest adventure you have participated in?

One of my greatest adventures was hiking the hills between the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens on Luxor, Egypt. On the way out of the Valley of the Kings, I kind of wandered off the main road and found the beginning of what I thought was the trail. I had done my reading before we had left home and I was pretty sure I had found the correct path.

I had!

I had dreamed of doing this route since I was 10. I had a vivid imagination as a child and I read all about ancient Egypt. I imagined striking out into the desert and of course, finding treasures on the ancient past. It was very hot as the sun beat down upon us and luckily, we had all brought our water bottles. We needed them for this hike. The views were tremendous from the vantage point, and I could imagine the ancient Egyptians walking these trails after a day of working in the deep tombs of the pharaohs.

It was dangerous as there are no rails to keep one from falling over the edge of the steep hills to the 150 meters below.

Why is adventure important to you?

I love to share new places and cultures with others because I believe that we are better people if we expand our minds and our hearts. While working at Ladysmith Secondary School for 20 years, I sponsored and took students overseas to many countries and places. The opportunity to share these moments in their lives and to share other cultures, foods and languages with them allowed me to give them a better understanding of our world. Many of the LSS kids have struck out on their own after travelling with me and have seen many parts of the world. I like to think that I inspired them.

What is your favorite adventurous activity to do in the Central Vancouver Island area?

Exploring beaches. Take a backpack, a picnic and some water. Strike out whichever way your heart desires on the beach, check the tides and explore. You just never know when you might come across a beautiful rock, shell or fossil. There are still ancient spear and arrow heads to be found on our beaches too! You will also be surprised by the wild life that frequents our oceans. There are otters, seals and if you are very lucky, an orca or two. The seabirds are beautiful as they swoop by on the ocean breezes. The trees that grow right down to our shores are often enormous. I understand why Emily Carr found them so beautiful and enchanting in her west coast paintings.

Has your adventurous lifestyle been an asset or detriment to your personal/business relationships and how?

I think it has been an asset to me, and I am very lucky to have a partner in life that also enjoys travel and new adventures. Now that I have retired, I can focus more on new and different places to travel to at different times of the year. I also now have time to do my own research, have meetings and generally educate my travellers as to where they are going and what they will see. I believe this makes any trip much better.

If someone was looking to add some zest to their lives what would you suggest?

Just do it. If you have a dream to see where your ancestors came from, if you have always wanted to see the Trevi Fountain in Rome, or climb the pyramids of Giza, let me know and I will come with you! Want to do a trip to the Galapagos, but you’re not sure how to do this? Let me know and I will make it happen. I have a wonderful group of like-minded, happy people who travel with us. We have really become a family in many ways and we love to invite new people to join our group.

What do your future plans include?

The future plans are as follows: Ancient Greece and Athens with a stay on the Island of Santorini (March 18, 2016), Spain (focusing on the foods and wines of Spain, October 2016), I am also planning a Galapagos/Ecuador tour. I would love to hear what other people would be interested in, so please do not hesitate to ask questions and suggest ideas.

Contact them at hastingsv [at] hotmail [dot] com.

About the author: Angie